John William Simpson (architect)

John William Simpson (architect)

::"For the contemporary British architect, see John Simpson."

Sir John William Simpson FRIBA (born Brighton, 9 August 1858, died Highgate, Middlesex, 30 March 1933) was an English architect and was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects from 1919 to 1921.

Background and early life

Simpson was the eldest son of the Brighton architect Thomas Simpson and his wife Clara Hart. He was the brother of another architect, Gilbert Murray Simpson.

He was educated privately and articled to his father in 1875, but later attended the Royal Academy Schools.


Simpson became an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1882. He was in partnership with M. P. Manning from 1881 to 1884 and subsequently with E. J. M. Manning and O. M. Ayrton, specializing in public buildings.

He was an active member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, rising to be its President, and of a number of architectural associations in other countries. He also wrote books and articles on architecture.

He never married, and died at home in West Hill, Highgate, Middlesex, on 30 March 1933.


* Introduction to Sir Lawrence Weaver's "Architectural Copyright" (1911)

* "Essays and Memorials" (1923)
* "Paris Rosemary" (1927)
* "Some Account of the Old Hall of Lincoln's Inn" (1928)
* "The Architecture of the Renaissance in France" by W. H. Ward (second edition, ed. J. W. Simpson, 1926)

Simpson wrote many professional papers on architecture and town planning. He edited the periodical "The Book of Book-Plates" between 1900 and 1903.

Memberships and appointments

* Secretary-general of the London Town Planning Conference, 1910
* Member of Council of the British School at Rome
* Corresponding member of the Institut de France
* Member of the Sociedad Central de Arquitectos, Buenos Aires
* Member of the Centralvereinigung der Architekten, Vienna


* Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1900
* President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 1919
* Gold medal of the Société des Artistes Français, 1922
* President of the Union Franco-Britannique des Architectes, 1922
* Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, 1924
*Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur

Major works

*Victoria Institute, Worcester (1896) (collaboration)
*Offices of the Crown Agents for the Colonies at Millbank
*West Downs School, Winchester (1897-98)
*Roedean School (1898–99, 1906, 1908, 1911)
*New school buildings at Gresham's School (completed 1903)
*Restoration of the Old Hall of Lincoln's Inn, London
*Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (with E.J. Milner Allen)
*New buildings for Lancing College
*New buildings for Haileybury College (now called Haileybury and Imperial Service College)
*Queen Victoria memorial at Bradford
*Royal Sussex Regiment memorial at Brighton
*Onslow Ford memorial in St John's Wood
*Cartwright Memorial Hall at Bradford
*Palace of Industry, Palace of Engineering and Stadium at British Empire Exhibition, Wembley, 1924 (with Maxwell Ayrton)
*Grafton Street Hospital, Liverpool (collaboration)
*National Hospital for the Paralysed and Epileptic, Queen Square, London (collaboration)
*Glasgow Art Galleries for the Corporation of Glasgow (collaboration)


* "Simpson, Sir John William (1858–1933), architect" by W. G. Allen and John Elliott in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)
* "Sir John William Simpson" by R. Unwinetal, RIBA Journal, volume 40 (1932–33), pages 514–15 and 517
* "The Builder", volume 144 (1933), pages 568-573 and 614
* "Obituary in The Times, 1 April 1933

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